[third in a series of posts addressed to understanding denominations and ecumenism]
What would you die for?
To save your children? To save your spouse? To ensure world peace? To promote your religion? Would you die rather than renounce your beliefs? Which ones? As we enter Holy Week, I often think about Jesus’ death and try to figure out what to make of it.
Continue reading On Death and Denominationalism
[this is the second in a series of posts addressed to understanding denominations and ecumenism]
I’m a PK (preacher’s kid) and a cradle Presbyterian. Family lore has it that when my grandparents married, my grandfather was a Republican and an Episcopalian and my grandmother was a Democrat and a Presbyterian. They agreed that they needed to make some compromises and so they became Republican Presbyterians. My grandmother later confided in me that while everybody knew where they went to church, the voting booth had curtains!
Continue reading Why I’m Presbyterian
When I joined the Presbyterian Church in 7th grade, I was required to memorize the Westminster shorter catechism. Yes, I said memorize and no, I wasn’t required to memorize bible verses, I was required to memorize what we believe as Christians. I still remember how torturous this process was. The first question was “What is the chief end of man?” Yes, you heard me right, “man.” After all, this was the 1970s. Inclusive language hadn’t quite infiltrated into our Christian Ed materials, yet.
Continue reading Catechism, Christianity, and Chocolate Soda
A couple of weeks ago, I published a blog piece prompted by a new report on the lynching of blacks from the time of Reconstruction to the World War II. The piece was also picked up and published as an op-ed by several regional newspapers in the South. While my thoughts on lynching, racial privilege, and accountability didn’t garner any comments on my blog (thought not much has – speak up people!), I got quite a number of personal emails in response to the op-ed’s that appeared in the newspaper.
Continue reading Taking Risks for Social Change
When I first watched the videos of young, white fraternity brothers casually singing their song of racism and lynching, I was transported back to my own college days in the mid-80s. I can’t be absolutely sure I heard that song but it was painfully familiar in a sickening and repulsive sort of way. I sort of knew what was coming before they sang the next words, which makes me think it was buried in the deep recesses of my conscious.
Continue reading You Can Hang ‘Em From a Tree . . .
With a teenage daughter in the house, I seem to get this question much more frequently on Sunday mornings than I used to. Especially since the nine-year old, who follows her sister’s lead in everything, has began to sing this refrain as well.
I grew up as a “PK” or a “preacher’s kid.” This was not a question that got asked in our house. Unless you had a fever of a 104 or couldn’t keep down your breakfast, you were going to church! And it wasn’t just worship on Sunday morning, it was Sunday school, worship, youth group, Wednesday night suppers, and any other “programming” that happened to be offered. As the preacher’s family, the Church was the center of our social world. This made sense for our family but there were many other families in our church who this was true for as well. The church family was a community, people knew each other and supported one another through life’s ups and downs. Continue reading Do I Have To Go to Church?
March 8 is International Women’s Day.
It is a day set aside to speak out for issues of justice for women – specifically issues related to women’s economic, political, and social freedom and equality around the world. Its origins lie in the socialist movement of the early 1900s (it was first celebrated in 1908) and the emphasis is political, activist, and oriented toward social change. I MUCH prefer it to Mother’s Day! While mother’s day is nice, it can also be difficult for women who struggle with infertility or miscarriage; for people whose relationships with their mothers are less than perfect; for mothers who have lost children; for single women or women who have chosen not to have children; and for a host of other reasons. International Women’s Day, however, celebrates all women and seeks to promote ways to make life for women better.
As a child of the 70s and 80s, I was vaguely aware that feminism existed but I didn’t really know anything about it. Like the college students that I teach today, I associated it with bra burning and radicalism. I continue to introduce my students to feminism, just as my professors introduced it to me – as a way of looking at history, scripture, tradition, and the world around me with a critical eye. With an eye oriented toward women’s perspectives, women’s experience, and questions of justice as they relate to women in a variety of settings and locations. With the knowledge that our identities are multiple and that the intersections of race, class, and gender matter when think about privilege, poverty, discrimination, racism, and power.
Continue reading Celebrating Feminism for International Women’s Day